Architecture and controls of thick, intensely bioturbated, storm-influenced shallow-marine successions: An example from the Jurassic Neuquén Basin (Argentina)

E. Schwarz*, M. Poyatos-Moré, S. Boya, L. Gomis-Cartesio, I. Midtkandal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Thick (>100 m-thick), highly bioturbated storm-influenced shallow-marine deposits are not frequent in the stratigraphic record, but they tend to be common in aggradational to retrogradational successions. Individual storm-event beds have typically low preservation potential in these successions, yet depositional settings are characterized on the basis of storms processes. Here we present a sedimentological study of a thick, bioturbated exhumed succession deposited during the early post-rift stage of the Neuquén Basin (Argentina) and compare its stratigraphic record with examples worldwide, in order to discuss the potential factors controlling the total overprint of storm-event beds during several million years. The Bardas Blancas Formation being 170–220 m thick in the study area is dominated by muddy sandstones and sandy mudstones, and it also includes subordinate proportions of clean sandstones and pure mudstones, collectively representing different environments of a storm-influenced shoreface-offshore system. The offshore transition and proximal offshore strata invariably comprise intensely bioturbated deposits, with only a few preserved HCS-sandstone beds. The unit shows for most of its thickness a long-term aggradational pattern spanning 7–10 Myr and is associated with low riverine influence. By combining the observations and interpretations of the Bardas Blancas Formation with other subsurface and exhumed intensely bioturbated, shallow-marine successions, we dispute the general assumption that these are associated with low frequency or low magnitude of storms. Alternatively, we argue that the long-lived efficiency of benthic fauna on overprinting most if not all the storm-event beds that reached the offshore-transition sector, results from the combination of several factors: deposition in relatively confined marine depocentres, persistent low riverine influence, and long-term aggradational stacking pattern. As these conditions can develop in a variety of basin styles, such as rift, early post-rift, and foreland settings, the recognition of thick, bioturbated successions as the ones discussed here can be used to infer more realistic constrains for depositional models and better predict facies distribution in such storm-influenced systems.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110109
JournalPalaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology
Volume562
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2021

Keywords

  • Bardas Blancas Formation
  • Biogenic destruction
  • Long-term aggradational stacking pattern
  • Storm-surge flows

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